Hops get right in Everett
On the heels of losing five of six games to arch rival Eugene the previous week and six of seven following their loss in the Aug. 2 series opener with Everett, Hillsboro may have gotten just what the doctor ordered with five straight wins over the home AquaSox.
The Hops showed signs of awakening offensively a week ago despite a disappointing series loss to the Emeralds, but they saw those signs come fully to fruition at Everett, hitting .302 as a team with 11 home runs and 51 runs scored. They won five of the six games in the series.
Hops manager Vince Harrison said it was good to obviously get things turned around in the win/loss column, but for him, it wasn't just about winning.
"We had a good week," Harrison said. "It's been fun because it's not just one person carrying the load, but different guys every night. When you get that going, that's when things get really fun."
Hillsboro got another great week from Deyvison De Los Santos, who has five home runs in his 15 games as a Hop. But in addition to the 19-year-old third baseman, catcher Caleb Roberts, shortstop Jordan Lawlar and starting pitcher Scott Randall all impressed against the AquaSox.
Roberts, a fifth-round pick in 2021, hit .368 with a home run and five RBIs in five games versus Everett.
Lawlar, the Arizona Diamondbacks' first pick of the draft a year ago, hit .333 with two home runs, eight RBIs and nine runs scored.
And Randall, a 24-year-old pitcher out of Sacramento State University, had arguably his best outing of the season. He threw six scoreless innings in a 13-2 win Aug. 6, allowing just three hits while striking out six with nary a walk.
Harrison described Randall as a pitcher who is constantly trying to improve. He said that's a key factor to his success on the mound.
"His outing almost got overshadowed because we swung the bats so well," the manager said. "He had a plan and went out and executed it, was convicted, and the success was well-deserved."
At the plate, Harrison said he saw signs of the team coming alive during their series a week prior in Eugene. He and his staff altered the team's batting practice routine and in doing so challenged the players to work hard on situational hitting success. The manager thought the work translated well to the games.
Players have noticed the difference, too.
"Ryan Bliss and I were talking in the cage the other day about how things feel different," Harrison said. "He's noticed that everyone's picking it up and doing their part."
Also, the manager said the influx of new talent to the team over the past couple of weeks has in a way reenergized the group as a whole, and players are feeding off of that.
"We've got this new energy," Harrison said. "It's been good to have this new energy and youthful exuberance to kind of bring a new vibe to the clubhouse."
A key part of that youth movement is Lawlar, who since coming to Hillsboro late in July is hitting .244. But this past week, the Texas native made further strides in his development and continued to show fans, the organization and his Hillsboro manager the type of talent he is and the player he can become.
"He's very talented, as we know, but he's also very humble and desperately wants to get better," Harrison said. "There's a lot of pressure on him, which can be overwhelming, but he handles it pretty well. Now, he's got some of his boys (De Los Santos, Channy Ortiz, Wilderd Patino) with him here and there's a lot of trust between those guys, and they're all just playing, having fun, and enjoying each other."
The Hops host Spokane Aug. 8 to Aug. 13 and will remain in Hillsboro the following week for six games with Eugene.
News and notes…
Wednesday, Aug. 10, will be "Women In Sports & Events Night" and prior to the game the baseball club will hold a free girls baseball and softball clinic, which will be led by Hops players and is open to 100 girls between the ages of 6 and 12. Registration for the event is open.
Former Hops outfielder Corbin Carroll continues on the fast track to the major leagues. The former first-round pick from Seattle is batting .310 with four home runs at Triple-A Reno and is batting a combined .316 this season with 21 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A.
Jorge Barrosa, who started the season in Hillsboro, is batting .272 with 10 home runs and 42 RBIs in 79 games in Double-A Amarillo.
Relief pitcher Kyle Backhus and outfielder Danny Oriente were promoted to Double-A Amarillo this past week.
Former Hop Daulton Varsho seems to have solidified himself at the major league level. The 26-year-old is batting .248 with 16 home runs this season with the Diamondbacks.
Last week's results:
Everett 8, Hillsboro 3
Hillsboro 6, Everett 5
Hillsboro 6, Everett 2
Hillsboro 9, Everett 4
Hillsboro 13, Everett 2
Hillsboro 14, Everett 11
Catcher Caleb Roberts batted .368 with two home runs, a double and five RBI in five games against the AquaSox.
Shortstop Jordan Lawlar was 7-for-21 with two homers, a double and eight RBI in five games versus Everett.
Starting pitcher Scott Randall threw six scoreless innings in a 13-2 win over Everett Aug. 6, allowing just three his while striking out six and walking none.
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